May 3, 2014
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Senior members of the University of Iowa football team hosted visitors from Camp Courageous Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, and it was hard to tell who enjoyed the day more.
"It's an important day to give back to the community. We have the best fans in the world, and this group is a part of that," said senior running back Mark Weisman. "They are having fun out here, and we are having just as much fun with them. To see their enthusiasm, it makes it a great day for everyone."
Saturday marked the ninth annual Spring Picnic for the Camp Courageous visitors, as more than 100 campers and their families enjoyed lunch in the Kinnick Stadium press box, an autograph session with Hawkeye seniors and head coach Kirk Ferentz, a tour of the Kinnick Stadium facilities, and the opportunity to play catch, run around on the playing field, and take photos.
Camper D.J. Grawe of Marion, has attended the event at Kinnick Stadium in previous years, but enjoys the day each time. Grawe enjoys listening to Iowa games on the radio, and to this day can repeat the exact call of Iowa radio announcer Gary Dolphin as Iowa scored on the final play of the game to defeat LSU in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.
"Just growing up here in the state of Iowa, it's just something I like doing," said Grawe, of his love for following Iowa sports. "This has been a blast, meeting Mark Weisman, Kevonte Martin-Manley, Damon Bullock, and Coach Ferentz again. It gets better and better every year."
"The kids are having fun, and we are having fun," said senior wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley. "They are excited to be here and enjoy the activities; it's been a great day. These kids know a lot about us and Iowa football. They know our stats; they know what is going on. They are loyal fans."
Katie Stephan from Dubuque took part in the event for the first time, but she has great memories of watching the Hawkeyes defeat Western Michigan in person in Kinnick Stadium early in the 2013 season.
"I have had the most fun in my life today; the seniors have been good to visit with" said Stephan. "Seeing the pink locker room was awesome. My favorite thing was just coming to watch a game, seeing these guys do their best, and win as much as they can."
The annual spring picnic was spearheaded by a long time Camp Courageous supporter and Hawkeye Football lover, the late Bill Krause. The continued success of the event is due to the amazing support of Martin Brother's Distributing, Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa (PMCI), Gilcrest-Jewett Lumber Company, Kum & Go, and the University of Iowa Football team.